White Rim

Slowly we gathered at the trailhead, readying our bikes under a partial solar eclipse and debating whether or not Creed is a Christian-rock band. Three weeks prior, a friend of a friend passing through town came to coffee outside and extended the invitation to the whole group, probably not expecting three of us to be enthusiastically down on such short notice. Permits had already been pulled, campsites reserved, and there was even an attendee driving a support vehicle to carry all of our shit. All we had to do was show up. I had never been on a supported tour before, and I was immediately enticed thinking of all of the luxury items I would bring.

So there I was, surrounded by seven soon-to-be-friends, only one of which I had known longer than a month. We started out clockwise on the loop, getting the only pavement on the route out of the way right off the bat. Soon we were on dirt and descending the Shafer Switchbacks, resisting the urge to stop every tenth-mile for photos. I grew up in Florida and have never been to Utah before. Around every bend was an unimaginable landscape. The sheer scale of this alien world is impossible to capture with a camera, and yet I tried. Recently equipped with a digital point-n-shoot, I was excited to dip my toes back into the world of photography after several years of iPhone only shots.

We would go on to ride the full loop over three days, and I can’t imagine wanting to go any faster. Our campsites were magical. You could see the milky way at night. We took turns making real food for the group at camp. Never starting riding before 10:30 AM and never rode past 5:30 PM. I am extremely grateful for all of the spontaneous invitations I’ve received over the years, but I think this one takes the cake. A lot of people ride White Rim in one day, which is totally doable, but I feel its criminal to blast through such stunning scenery at that speed. That being said, touring the route over multiple days requires you to carry several gallons of water on the bike, or a good friend with a high-clearance 4WD vehicle. Everything considered, if someone invites you to ride White Rim, just say yes.

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